Stanford mourns a pioneer in computer music

Leland Smith, who died on December 17 at his home in Palo Alto, California, aged 88, was one of the first to write composing programs for computers. A student of Milhaud and Sessions, he played bassoon with New York City Ballet, Chicago Lyric Opera, Chicago Symphony, San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Symphony before becoming professor at Stanford. The university pays tribute here.


Leland Smith with computer music displayed on CRT monitor.05/19/1976

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  • I had a couple of classes with Professor Smith at Stanford, but I had no idea he had been a professional-level bassoonist. But the Stanford music department was oddly split-brained about performance; while there were some remarkable performers as adjuncts (David Abel, Bonnie Hampton, and Nathan Schwartz) and Adolph Baller was tenured faculty, the bias was very much towards musicology and composition. I remember him as a good teacher, though, and supportive of those of us who were primarily performers.

  • Requiescat in pace, Prof. Leland Smith,

    met you once in 90s, when your SCORE software lead me through my beginings with engraving software after years, working with Notaset.

    You were a real pioneer, a lot of us are to be thankful to your wisdom and prophecy.

    Vito Primožič,

    Director of ASTRUM Music Publications

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